Harvey Cedars' feral fats were in for a surprise Friday when members of the Associated Humane Societies and others, including General Manager of John Bergmann, did a spay and neuter clinic.
“They’re surgeying themselves away,” Bergmann said on Friday morning.
The Associated Humane Societies called the borough last week when they were planning to catch the feral cats overnight and transport them to be spayed and neutered, Bergmann said.
In October, the Associated Humane Societies purchased a mobile spay and neuter clinic that they were able to utilize effectively at Harvey Cedars, Bergmann said. The vehicle is stationed at the north facility.
Feral cats are especially prominent on the island, he said of the animals that were born wild, then domesticated, and returned to the wild.
“This will severely cut into the population,” Bergmann said.
Trapper Linda Bonvie was excited to get started on Thursday evening, she said. The group made their last round just after midnight and were “highly successful” as 25 cats were trapped.
“I think it’s going to be a great experience,” she said. “It will really make a difference.”
The whole process is “amazing,” Brooke Dalton Folino said. Folino used to work with Animal Rescue in Tuckerton for seven years and is now a freelancer.
The cats were undergoing surgery by veterinarians as she spoke and kittens were being bottle fed, she said.
“It’s a busy day,” she said.
The clinic, which they plan to do again in the future, will cut down significantly on the feral cat population.
“They won’t be sending out new generations,” she said. “Through attrition, the population reduces. It’s been proven to be the best way to control the population.”
Once the feral cats are trapped and spayed or neutered, they have to be returned to where they were found, she explained. The trappers are then responsible to feed and house the cats by developing a home base.
But since they’re wild, they cannot be cuddled or treated like domestic animals, she said.
Many residents of Harvey Cedars have stepped up, she said. One family takes care of 24 feral cats.
“It’s people being responsible,” she said.
The group hopes to set up future dates in Harvey Cedars and elsewhere for spay and neuter clinics, Bergmann said.
“Right now we’re just getting started,” he said. “We’ll take it from here.”